A few years back (quite a few, actually), there was a teeny tiny movement by politically active women (vehemently politically active, I think) to get the spelling of “woman” changed to “womyn” or “womon.” The rationale behind it was that we women (wimmin?) didn’t need the word “man” as part of our gender title. Nothing came of it, I’m happy to say. I have enough trouble remembering “woman” v. “women.” Oy vey.
I am open-minded when it comes to political correctness. While some attempts are admittedly silly, my philosophy is if I am hurting anyone’s feelings, I will try to avoid doing or saying or writing whatever it is that is causing the problem. Short of using “womyn.”
But I heard a story recently that was seriously so kooky that it made me laugh until I had tears rolling down my cheeks.
The names will be left off to protect the innocent.
A brief explanation here before I move on. I personally believe that during human reproduction, weird things can happen. There are proven cases of people born with both male and female sex organs. I also believe that for whatever reason, there are people born as one gender who feel strongly they should be the other gender. My story doesn’t discount all of these issues.
Back to my story….
A certain company has a person working for them who is undergoing a gender change. While born a man, this person is in the process of becoming a woman.
Now the human resources folks at this company, apparently in an effort to be sensitive, asked this person the preferred address by colleagues: “him” or “her.”
The answer? “They.”
Yes, my friends. This person wants to be referred to as “they.”
As in: “Where is Pat today?”
“They is on vacation.”
Now maybe this amuses me because I have degrees in journalism and communication, and am a writer by choice and profession. I am also a stickler for correct grammar (though not always successful at using it). I would never be able to say “they is…” But you really couldn’t say “they are” either, as there is only one of, well, them.
However, “they” is really serious about this, as “they” filed a complaint with the HR department because “their” boss referred to “them” as, well, something other than “them.” Him or her I guess.
Am I lacking sensitivity?
For some reason, as I pondered this, I remembered a funny story that a friend of mine told me. She grew up in a very small town in Wisconsin. While she lived in Denver, her parents still lived in this small town. Her mother was visiting her one time, and asked my friend where she liked to shop for clothes. My friend told her mother, “I like Ross Dress For Less.”
The next day, her mother said to her, “Honey, let’s go shopping. We can go to Cross-dress For Less if you would like.”